Weingut Herbert Zillinger | Biodynamic estate winery in the Weinviertel region in Austria. The business is currently run by Herbert Zillinger. He took over here in 1998, aged 18. There were 7ha of vines. In 2005, his wife Carmen, also a winemaker, joined the company
Certification | 2015 First vintage with full organic certification. | 2017 First vintage with full Biodynamic certification by respekt-Biodyn for the first time.
Vineyards | Zillinger’s vineyards are located in the Vienna basin, on sedimentary soils: loess. The fine loess sand (slurry) consists of quartz, feldspar and mica silicates, and clay minerals. Zillinger’s most important single-site vineyards are called “Weintal”, “In Haiden”, “Steinberg” and “Vogelsang”.
Weintal | Zillinger’s most important Veltliner vineyard is found on the very cool, wind-exposed Weintal (cool microclimate). The loess soil here is very deep and rich in limestone, with a humus layer. The old vines annually produce ripe, powerful Veltliners with cool elegance and mineral notes.
In Haiden | This vineyard is dedicated to Traminer. The soil consists of light loess with a high proportion of calcium. Delicate, minerally, spicy wines. Notable acidity, even in the warmest years.
Steinberg | ‘Stone mount.’ As the name suggests, the Steinberg site has very barren, rocky soil, sand and sandstone. Zweigelt produces small berries here. Very spicy, minerally and close-meshed wines.
Vogelsang | Zillinger’s Sauvignon Blanc and a Grüner Veltliner are grown on Vogelsang. The soil is lime-rich and light, with loess (topsoil), sand, and sandstone. The wines are finely structured, minerally, elegant and spicy.
Ried Ollersdorfer Vogelsang. Soil: calcareous sandstone (‘Kalksandstein’).
Grape varieties | The winery and the Weinviertel region’s main grape variety by far is Grüner Veltliner. Also grown: Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Zweigelt varieties.
Grüner Veltliner | ‘Austria’s most important grape variety, accounting for 30% of all vineyards, and is a natural cross between Traminer and St. George. No winery in the Weinviertel can ignore the Grüner Veltliner, and it is also the most important grape variety for Zillinger with a 65% share,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Traminer | ‘This represents only a small share of 0.7% of the total vineyards in Austria but here Traminer accounts for 4% of the cultivated area. It probably originated in southern Europe, coming to Austria via South Tyrol, and at some point to Zillinger’s vineyards. Traminer is one of the oldest grape varieties and has a long tradition in the southern Weinviertel, which I would like to continue. Next to Veltliner, it’s my second lifeblood,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Sauvignon Blanc | ‘This is associated more with Styria, where it had already arrived in the 19th century as Muskat-Sylvaner (a term that is no longer allowed) from its French homeland in the Loire Valley. Like Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc is half descended from Traminer, the other half is Chenin Blanc. In Austria it accounts for 2% of vineyard area. This normally overly aromatic variety can convey its terroir perfectly if handled well. The Sauvignon from the Vogelsang is ripe, minerally, close-meshed and finely structured,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Welschriesling | ‘This variety is often dismissed by many as making characterless wines. They are often right. But it can be a wonderfully expressive wine with great potential for aging if treated accordingly. It’s getting more popular as a quality Prädikatswein. Its share of Austrian varieties is 7.2%. ‘The Welschriesling in our Neuland line has also become a wine with a strong character. You just have to know how to approach it, and I really appreciate it as a relaxed wine for everyday,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Chardonnay & Weißburgunder | ‘It was not until the end of the last century that Chardonnay gained importance in Austria, but it had already been present for a long time – especially in Styria. In the past, no distinction was made between Weißburgunder and Chardonnay. Chardonnay requires good, warm locations with deep soil, a good water supply, and higher lime content. It grows on 3.5% of the domestic vineyard area,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Weißburgunder | ‘Weißburgunder, or Pinot Blanc is a mutant strain of Pinot Noir, and slightly more susceptible to Botrytis than its white cousin Chardonnay. Young wines are flowery with a piquant acidity, mature wines develop flavors of bread and nuts. In Austria it covers 4.2% of vineyards. ‘Chardonnay & Weißburgunder can be unexciting, but can also produce fantastic wines, if you know how. They are very comfortable on our calcareous soils, and they become finely engraved, minerally and elegant,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Zweigelt | ‘This was originally called Rotburger, and is a young cross between St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch (1922). Sometime in the 1970s, Rotburger was renamed after its creator. Today, the Zweigelt grape occupies 14.1% of Austria’s vineyard area, making it Austria’s most important red variety. At Zillinger’s, however, it is not “charming and sour cherry fruity” but rather taut with a lot of structure. ‘Herbert Zillinger says ‘Zweigelt is thered wine variety of the Weinviertel as far as I am concerned, with a cool red berry fruit, and a proper structure and backbone. The sweet fruity flavors it develops in warmer regions are missing here, thankfully,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
Wine ranges (4)
Herbert Zillinger develops his wines in four stages of maturation. From the light fruity varieties to the ripe and radical. Each one stands on its own.
1) Neuland Explore with confidence instead of standing still, awkwardly. Herbert Zillinger wanders towards the horizon, in order to leave the surface. Only those who set off on their own way will discover new lands. Wines in this range: Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner and the “Springbreak” Zweigelt-Rosé.
2) Horizont Herbert Zillinger’s contribution to the expansion of the glass horizon. Elegant and hearty at the same time, almost a classic. With an intensive view of roots, origin and variety – and far beyond the borders of the past. Wines in this range: Grüner Veltliner, Weißburgunder, Chardonnay and Zweigelt.
3) Lagenselektion. Site-specific selection wines. Here, the soil speaks. Whether sand, sandstone, limestone or loess, its expression can be found in the wine. The grape variety is the vehicle, and it leaves the stage to the terroir. Wines in the single-site vineyard selection range include: Weintal Grüner Veltliner, In Haiden Traminer, Vogelsang Sauvignon blanc & Grüner Veltliner, and Steinberg Zweigelt.
4) Edition Z. | Wines from radical, profound and indiscreet winemaking. Wines that are a bit more difficult, that you have to get involved with. Edition Z is the spearhead of the estate. Wines in this range include Grüner Veltliner, Radikal; Grüner Veltliner, Elementar; Traminer, Profound; and Essenziell trockenbeerenauslese.
“Radikal” stands for Herbert Zillinger’s ultimate Grüner Veltliner. Harvested late, he gives it time, so as not to end up in the bottle too quickly. It receives intensive skin contact, is unfiltered, and is dense and powerful without being high in alcohol. Its defining flavours are mostly yellow fruits, quince and above all that wonderful Veltliner spice.
“Elementar“ is another Grüner Veltliner in extreme form, bottled for the first time in 2015. It is a border crossing between the poles of lightness and strength. Vinified with intensive mash contact, untouched and spontaneously fermented, and bottled from large wooden barrels. Extremely calm and spicy, with notes of Acacia blossoms, rosemary and basil. Despite its lacy alcohol, it is very powerful. Earthy, lush, and with a cool mineral vein.
“Profund” is the Traminer. A wine with many facets, highly elegant with a fine acidity. An excellent accompaniment to food and, like all Edition Z wines, harvested very late. Depending on the vintage, it enchants more or less intensively with notes of cinnamon, mandarins, rosewood and roasted nuts,’ says Herbert Zillinger.
‘Essenziell is the name of our trockenbeerenauslese, and not without reason. It is a concentrated and rare extract from nature. It is produced only when conditions are just right, harvested in November from Chardonnay grapes shrunk into raisins. An elixir of sweet tropical fruit, fine citrus tones and powerfully creamy sweetness, fine acidity and perfectly balanced,’ says Herbert Zillinger
Grüner Veltliner, Horizont | 2018 L1191934/09. 12.5% alc. Niederösterreich. Textured and salty bright yellow fruit, very reviving (tasted March 2020.)
Grüner Veltliner, Radikal | 2017 Trocken. 13%. L0718. Well-weighted, clear green-yellow fruit with a salty undertow and plenty of texture (tasted Oct 2019).
Ried Vogelsang, Grüner Veltliner | From the Ried Ollersdorfer Vogelsang, see above. | 2017 Trocken. 13% alc. LE 3748/18. Bright, spicy and clear (tasted Oct 2019).
Ried Wein Tal, Grüner Veltliner Trocken | From loess soils in Ried Ebenthaler Weintal | 2017 Trocken. 12.5%. Vibrant, salty-spice yellow from with underlying stoniness and a smooth. ethereal but noticeable texture (tasted Jan 2020).
Weingut Herbert Zillinger
A-2251 Ebenthal, Austria
Tel+43 2538 85 395
www.zillingerwein.at | www.radikal.bio